Ejection Inspection, Week 20: Brett Gardner of New York Yankees Ejected in Case of Mistaken Identity

Brett Gardner
TORONTO, ONTARIO - AUGUST 9: Brett Gardner #11 of the New York Yankees is held back by manager Aaron Boone as he argues with umpires while playing the Toronto Blue Jays in the fourth inning during their MLB game at the Rogers Centre on August 9, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

Brett Gardner Ejected in Case of Mistaken Identity

Welcome to Week 20 of Ejection Inspection! The premise and ground rules are detailed here. The condensed version: each ejection from the previous week (Thursday through Wednesday) is listed in a table. The author – a former player/coach/umpire – analyzes each ejection and assigns it an entertainment rating of one to five Weavers in honor of late Baltimore Orioles manager Earl Weaver. This week’s highlight was one of the stranger ejections of the season, where Chris Segal ejected New York Yankees center fielder Brett Gardner in a case of mistaken identity.

(For a list of every article in this series, click here.)

There were four ejections in Week 20 – two managers, a hitting coach, and a player.

Ejection Table

Date Team Opp Inn. Name Pos Umpire Pos Reason
1 Fri 8/9 NYY @TOR T4 Brett Gardner CF Chris Segal HP Arguing balls and strikes from dugout (mistaken identity)
2 Fri 8/9 MIA ATL T5 Don Mattingly Mgr John Tumpane 2B Arguing balk call
3 Tue 8/13 SEA @DET T7 Tim Laker HitC Eric Cooper HP Arguing balls and strikes from dugout
4 Tue 8/13 KC STL T5 Ned Yost Mgr Greg Gibson 1B Arguing non-call of interference at first

 

Brett Gardner, New York Yankees Center Fielder

When

Friday, August 9th, at Toronto Blue Jays, top of the fourth

Umpire

Chris Segal (HP)

Description

Yankees right fielder Cameron Maybin took an 0-2 breaking ball that appeared to dip below the knees before crossing the plate. Segal rang him up. Maybin stood at the plate, said a few words of protest, then headed to the dugout. Meanwhile, the Yankees coaching staff yelled things like, “That ball is way down! That’s low! What the (bleep) are we doing? That’s awful! That’s terrible! Just a bad call!” Behind them, Brett Gardner took out his frustration with the strike zone by ramming his bat against the ceiling of the dugout.

The first pitch to the next hitter – left fielder Mike Tauchman – also appeared to be low, but the fastball was called strike one. Maybin yelled, “That’s (bleeping) terrible! Let’s go!” at Segal, who called time, took off his mask, and ejected Gardner. Boone entered the field in disbelief, pointing at himself and asking, “Me? Who’s out? Do you know who you just threw out?” Segal replied, “Gardner. He just told me I’m (bleeping) terrible.” Boone said, “I said that,” and Segal countered, “Okay, you’re gone too, then.” Boone asked, “What do you want me to do, then? You can’t do that!” Segal smirked, “Sure I can.” Boone pointed and told him it was something expelled by a bull.

Brett Gardner Gets the News

Someone in the dugout told Gardner that he had been chucked. Gardner, with a stunned look on his face, entered the field and got first base umpire Dan Iassogna’s attention, saying, “Hey. Hey. Did he just throw me out? I didn’t say anything!” He continued toward the group at the plate as he explained, “I didn’t say a word. I didn’t say one word!” Somebody said something to him, and Gardner said, “No I didn’t!” Boone grabbed him and tried to keep him from getting to Segal and doing something stupid, but Gardner turned into a raging bull. He evaded Boone’s grasp and got to Segal, where Boone intervened again. Gardner, fuming, pointed and started screaming, “I didn’t say a word! Not a word!” over and over.

After about 20-30 seconds of this, Gardner went back in the dugout, where he repeated that he didn’t say a word before heading down the tunnel to the clubhouse. Boone, still confused, asked if he was also gone. Segal said no, and the game continued.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. Segal was not having a good day. Furthermore, getting tossed for something someone else did isn’t just frustrating – it’s infuriating.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Despite the frustration, yelling that to an umpire from the dugout is a quick way to get an early exit. The problem is that Maybin was the one who should have been run, not Gardner.

Segal did not handle this well. Ejecting a player is a game-changing event. A player should only be tossed for verbal misconduct if he can be positively identified – both audially and visually – as the culprit. In this case, Segal should have gone to the dugout and told them, “That’s enough!” At that point, if anyone continued, then he would have been correct to bounce him.

Entertainment Rating

Four Weavers. This ejection was unusual, for one, but Gardner’s reaction upon learning of his ejection was a blast to watch.  It also deserves another photo.

Embed from Getty Images

Don Mattingly, Miami Marlins Manager

When

Friday, August 9th, vs. Atlanta Braves, top of the fifth

Umpire

John Tumpane (2B)

Description

With runners on first and second, no outs, and Braves pitcher Julio Teheran trying to bunt the runners over, Tumpane called a balk on Marlins pitcher Caleb Smith. Smith had rotated his glove to ask the catcher to go through the signs again, and Tumpane mistakenly thought he was making an unnatural motion not associated with his pitching delivery.

Mattingly came out of the dugout saying “bull (bleepin’) (expletive)” repeatedly. While Mattingly argued that someone had called time, Tumpane said that he heard the person call time, but the balk occurred before time was requested. Mattingly continued to say the expletive starting with bull, then walked toward the dugout. He took a few steps, then turned around to say some more, and after two phrases, Tumpane dumped him.

Understand the frustration?

Yes, for multiple reasons. It was incorrect, it removed the possibility for a double play grounder, and the Braves only led 1-0. It also put two runners in scoring position as opposed to only one.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. The conversation was over, and Mattingly had started to leave, but then he turned around to yell more while walking to the dugout.

Entertainment Rating

Two Weavers. It was more heated than most but did not last long and was not all that memorable.

 

Tim Laker, Seattle Mariners Hitting Coach

When

Tuesday, August 13th, at Detroit Tigers, top of the seventh

Umpire

Eric Cooper (HP)

Description

(An ejection at Comerica Park that didn’t involve Ron Gardenhire! Amazing!)

With the Mariners batting and holding a 9-4 lead, Cooper called a strike on a pitch that appeared to be two inches above the zone. Laker started barking at Cooper, who said, “Hey! Who are you? You don’t yell at me! Do you wanna get popped?” (Full-armed ejection motion) He then pointed at Laker, tipped his hand into a hitchhiker’s thumb, and calmly said, “You’re done!” Laker yelled that the decision was a two-word expletive, with the second word starting with “horse,” and then headed down the tunnel. Given what Cooper said, Laker probably had yelled that several times.

Understand the frustration?

Yes. The pitch appeared to be a bit high, and that wasn’t the first high pitch of the night that Cooper called a strike.

Was the ejection justified?

Assistant coaches get no leeway AT ALL. They are not the lines of communication with the umpire – the managers are. Umpires will talk to managers, but not assistants, as anyone who’s been in baseball (or any sport) for long can attest. He absolutely deserved to go.

Entertainment Rating

Three Weavers. Cooper’s “I am the law!” handling of the situation was hilarious.

 

Ned Yost, Kansas City Royals Manager

When

Tuesday, August 13th, vs. St. Louis Cardinals, top of the fifth

Umpire

Greg Gibson (1B)

Description

Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong hit a slow dribbler about 30 feet up the first base line. Catcher Meibrys Viloria scampered out from behind the plate to get the ball. He had to whip a hurried, off-balance throw from near the ground in order to have any chance of retiring Wong. The throw was wide to the second base side of the bag. Wong was safe.

Because Wong’s left foot was completely on the inside of the foul line, Yost argued from the dugout that he should be called out for interference. Gibson told Yost, “He’s got to make a good throw. He didn’t interfere with him.” Yost continued to argue, and Gibson responded, at one point forcefully saying, “That’s the rule!” As Yost continued, Gibson yelled, “Stop it! Stop!” Yost kept barking, so Gibson gave the heave-ho.

Yost came out of the dugout and claimed (in a profane manner) that the umpires change that rule every day. He mocked Gibson, saying, “He’s gotta make a good throw” followed by an expletive that begins with “bull.” As Yost continued his profanity-laced rant, Gibson said, “That’s the rule. That’s always been the rule.”

Understand the frustration?

Managers never seem to understand this rule, so they always try to fight to get it called in their team’s favor. He wasn’t frustrated with the correctness of the call, but with the outcome. With those provisions, the answer is yes.

Was the ejection justified?

Yes. Gibson fully explained the call, let Yost say his piece, then told him twice to stop. Yost had plenty of chances.

Entertainment Rating

Three Weavers. Yost is fun to watch when he gets on a yelling spree, but that isn’t what earned this rating. In the background, Cardinals first base coach Stubby Clapp has a hilarious look on his face. He enjoyed every minute of this argument with sadistic glee. The look on his face was one of holding back hysterical laughter. Later, he and Wong were cracking up at first while the conversation ended.

 

Leaderboard

After 20 weeks, here are the leaders. Fight-related ejections do not count toward the leaderboard.

Managers: David Bell of the Cincinnati Reds (eight), Ron Gardenhire of the Detroit Tigers (seven)
Players: Tigers designated hitter Miguel Cabrera and Kansas City Royals right fielder Jorge Soler (two each)
Team high: Reds (17), Tigers (nine)
Team low: Cleveland Indians and Tampa Bay Rays (one each)
Umpire: Mike Estabrook (10)

 

Look for Week 21 on Thursday, August 22nd.

Evan Thompson played baseball as a youth and teenager. He also umpired between 1995 and 2004 and has coached at the high school level.

Main Photo
Embed from Getty Images

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